Customer-focused companies have long used product value as a major competitive advantage. Understanding patient preferences help increase the product’s value and, therefore, its value. We will tell you how it works in this article.
What is the value for the patient?
The value of a product refers to an assessment of how useful and desirable it is to the consumer or the market as a whole. This means that the value of a drug, medical device, or service relates to how it can improve a patient’s health or quality of life and the benefits it can bring. In other words, the value of a product to a patient includes a combination of factors, including:
- ease of use;
- availability of purchase.
At the same time, patients evaluate all five indicators at once. For example, a drug with above-average efficacy in treating a certain disease but without serious side effects, which can be purchased at an affordable price, maybe more valuable to the patient than drugs with greater efficacy but more significant side effects or more expensive.
To shape the value of a product to patients, one must consider competitive products in the marketplace as well as the needs and preferences of the target audience.
In terms of building product value based on consumer preferences, many consulting companies today offer the development of specialized software that simplifies this work. You can get acquainted with the possibilities of such solutions right here.
What are patient preferences?
Patient preferences are personal preferences of healthcare consumers that reflect their wants and needs for medical treatment and care. Patient preferences are influenced by many factors, such as:
- social status;
- cultural beliefs;
- personal values;
- experiences and lifestyle.
Patient preferences can cover many aspects of medical treatment and care, such as:
- choice of treatment modality;
- form of medication administration;
- choice of specialist;
- eating habits;
- hospital environment;
- level of comfort, etc.
Understanding patient preferences allows healthcare providers to create individualized treatment and care plans and allows drug manufacturers to create the exact products that meet consumer needs. You can read more about the value proposition for payers here.
What does understanding patient preferences do to add value to a product or service?
Patients have specific needs and requirements that differ from other industries. Understanding patient preferences allows healthcare providers to provide consumers:
- A more personalized treatment and care plan that better meets the patient’s needs and desires. This leads to more effective treatment and care, which increases patient satisfaction.
- Greater quality of care provided. When healthcare providers understand patient preferences, they can create services that are more responsive to their needs. For example, the doctor can provide more convenient appointment times, use more comfortable equipment, etc. This also increases patient loyalty.
- A more comfortable treatment process. When medical staff understand a patient’s preferences, they can create a more pleasant and comfortable experience for the patient. This also leads to higher patient loyalty and repeat visits.
- More effective communication. When healthcare staff understand patient preferences, they can communicate with them more effectively and meet their needs and requirements. This improves the relationship between the patient and medical staff and increases the level of trust.
For drug and medical device manufacturers, understanding customer preferences enables them to better understand the needs and expectations of their target audience, the consequence of which is:
- Developing more effective products. Understanding what’s important to patients helps manufacturers develop medications and medical devices that will better meet patients’ needs and preferences. This, in turn, leads to more effective and convenient products that are of greater value to patients.
- Improved quality of care. Companies can use information about patient preferences to improve the customer experience, create a more convenient experience for patients, and provide additional services.
In general, understanding patient preferences helps healthcare manufacturers and providers increase customer loyalty. When a manufacturer offers products that better meet patients’ needs and expectations, they tend to be more satisfied. In doing so, the value to consumers of both the individual product and the brand as a whole grows. This, in turn, gives manufacturers and suppliers the opportunity to attract more customers and set pricing based not only on their costs but also on the perceived value of the product.
How to increase the value to patients based on their preferences?
To increase the value of a product to patients based on their preferences, do the following:
- Research patient preferences. Most healthcare professionals today assume that they are already using patient-centred communication strategies, but there is reason to believe that this assumption is not always true. In practice, however, manufacturers’ and providers’ own value systems and goals are often the dominant reference point. To find out which product features and functions are most valuable to patients, conduct research. Various methods can be used, such as surveys, focus groups, interviews, personal communication, etc.
- Customize the product. Use the data from the survey to customize the product to the needs and preferences of the patients. This may include changing features, simplifying the interface, streamlining the use process, etc.
- Offer a personalized approach. Consider individual patient preferences when developing a treatment and care plan. This may include selecting specific medications, dosage forms, diet and care regimens, etc.
- Ensure ease of use. Make sure the product is easy to use and understood by patients. This will help reduce the stress associated with using the product and increase patient satisfaction.
- Provide feedback. Keep track of how the product is used by patients and provide feedback to make sure the product meets their needs and preferences. This will also help improve the product in the future.
- Add a feature that will help the product be more relevant to customers’ needs. It is especially important to communicate with customers during the medical device development process. Often, the benefits associated with introducing a new feature outweigh the potential risks and increased production costs.
- Revisit your discount strategy, and align it with competitors’ pricing and customer expectations. It’s also important to find a balance – offering discounts too often can reduce their perception of the value of the product, while offering them too infrequently can make them feel like the product or service isn’t available to them.
Digital tools for computerized preference evaluation and product value creation
In 1997, the Stanford Center for the Study of Patient Preferences first used the technical capabilities of computers and the Internet to conduct a study to identify patients’ health preferences. Today, there are many digital tools for computer-based preference assessment and product value formation.
Finding out patient preferences helps:
- Questionnaires and questionnaires. This is the most common tool for determining user preferences and needs. There are many online services, such as Google Forms, Typeform and SurveyMonkey, that allow you to create and administer surveys.
- User behaviour analytics. Tools such as Google Analytics allow you to analyze data about how users interact with a product, such as what pages they visit and how long they stay on the site.
- A/B testing. This method allows you to conduct experiments to determine which product variations are most effective. Some popular tools for A/B testing include Optimizely and Google Optimize.
- Real-time user observation. Tools such as Hotjar allow you to view user screen recordings and analyze their interaction with the product.
- Online focus groups. This method allows for real-time discussions with groups of users. There are various services for online focus groups, such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams.
- Social media. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can be used to gather feedback from users and analyze their opinions.
- Interviews. A method that allows you to gain more in-depth knowledge about users’ needs and preferences. Interviews can be conducted either in a real or virtual format.
Each of these tools can be used to gain valuable information about users’ needs and preferences, which will ultimately help create a product that is more appealing to the target audience.